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Compound Butter

John Cody Clark is an art student and friend working in Los Angeles, California. Focusing on people and portraiture, John has taken to sketching the customers around him while he waits for his food. We got a chance to chat with him about his process and to share his receipts with you. These snap shots of the everyday lives of others are raw, charming, and capture the humanity, vulnerability, and anonymous nature of our fellow diners. 

"The pieces started a while ago actually, as a way to just keep drawing and seeing. I was at In-N-Out and wanted to draw the cashier with the pencil I always carry, but I only had the receipt for a surface. Those early drawings were very timid and ended up in the trash. Then I kind of took a break from them for a while.

I started again out of the same desire to draw. This time though, I ended up with an alright drawing of this homeless dude I would always see at the McDonald's in Eagle Rock. There was something different about that drawing then the previous ones.

The pieces sort of fell into the perfect spot on the venn diagram of what I was currently thinking about. Drawing from life, journalistic illustration, personal and honest work, and found or odd materials.

 

Drawing from life is my favorite thing to do but its much different in public then in a classroom, so working on this skill set and developing it further is a big goal of mine. It ties into journalistic illustration and my eventual hope to be able to digest events or places and people in interesting ways. I've never been concerned with being original or unique, just honest.

I eat at these places, and I get the same food all the time. You can see on the Burger King receipt that I order my whopper with only pickles and mustard. I am much more out of place at a fancy restaurant then I am at a shitty McDonald's at two in the morning. Two forks are one too many.

Found materials or unusual materials are interesting because they have history and they carry their own story. I believe the drawings wouldn't be as rad if I drew them in a pristine sketchbook. They always start after I order my food and usually end when I get my food. That's not much time. If I'm feeling a drawing coming on, I'll let it continue a little longer, but not long enough for my food to get cold. I'm there because I'm hungry, the pieces are really just a bonus.

I never go to a place to do a drawing, only to get food. I try not to fuss with the mark making, they aren't supposed to be perfect renderings. Every now and then I'll erase something for clarity but that's it, I try to keep them honest. I don't work on them once I leave. I treat them like any other receipt, I stuff them in my pocket. I have for sure thrown some of them away by accident.

Hopefully they'll get better."

Check out John's Instagram for more of his work.